Here is the official list of the month-by-month top articles that appeared in Architecture + Design this year.
What a year this has been. Bushfires. Floods. COVID-19. And that was just the first three months.
Through all the smoke haze, the water and those on-again, off-again lockdowns, we have been publishing the most interesting and newsworthy stories about the architecture, building, construction and design sectors.
So on that note, here are the top 12 Architecture + Design articles listed by the month they appeared, out of the total 1540 stores we published this year.
Green light for new community building at Parramatta Square
Construction will soon begin on a new civic, cultural and community building at the Parramatta Square precinct following its approval by the Sydney Central City Planning Panel.
Designed by a consortium of Australian firms DesignInc and Lacoste + Stevenson in collaboration with French firm Manuelle Gautrand Architecture for the City of Parramatta Council, the new $130 million community building, 5 Parramatta Square will comprise of a public library, café and meeting rooms available for the public across its six storeys.
Castle Towers upgrades set to continue apace
Castle Towers Centre Manager Eddie Paynter says the Centre was preparing to imminently commence work on further Centre enhancement projects.
Following the launch of the Metro Mall and Fresh Food Precinct in December, Paynter says that a refurbishment of the popular Piazza dining precinct will be undertaken this year, with preliminary works expected to commence this month
How will coronavirus affect property prices?
It’s a commonly searched question since the coronavirus and COVID-19 outbreak: how will coronavirus affect house prices?
The bottom line is it will be negative - prices will go down. People, up until now, have been talking about the property market developing a bit of momentum, with the interest cuts we had last year and the easing in credit conditions.
But coronavirus has changed the story for 2020.
Sustainable Architecture: 8 Best Green Building Designs
Back in 1987, the UN-commissioned The Brundtland Report 'Our Common Future' described sustainable development as 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'.
More than three decades later, this definition continues to be relevant – especially in the context of the built environment and climate change.
So what defines sustainable architecture? The simplest description would be architecture that has minimal impact on the environment through the application of appropriate design concepts, materials and technologies while also ensuring ongoing benefits for future occupants in the form of energy efficiency, comfort and well-being throughout the lifecycle of the building.
$1.5 billion revamp for Mt Druitt on the way
In another sign that building and construction will lead the post-pandemic economic recovery, the NSW Government has announced an almost $1.5 billion revamp of the Mt Druitt CBD, which will create 15,000 jobs and breathe new life into Western Sydney.
The green light for the rezoning proposal paves the way for more than 2,800 new homes to be built in the precinct, as well as new cafés, restaurants, retail outlets and commercial space in taller buildings.
NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian says the Mt Druitt CBD rezoning was one of the first projects to have its assessment fast-tracked as part the Planning System Acceleration Program that is keeping people in jobs and the economy moving during the COVID-19 pandemic.
House design app: 10 best home design apps
As digital information consumption takes up more than 60% of our hours– shortening our attention spans and enabling us to build better, faster and more efficiently, (whether it be houses or an inventory of knowledge) – it is of little to no surprise that there are now countless apps to enable a ‘DIY’ approach to house design or its interior.
‘Power to the people’ (or power to Apple and its co-dependants) – house design apps are ‘applications’, usually on an iPhone or Android that allow you to foresee how your house will look after renovations, an interior-design rejig or simply, a new paint job.
Some apps are surprisingly in-depth, allowing you to take photos of each room to upload and move furniture around to visualise your next interior makeover.
Others allow you to shop from their library for interior ideas and some, offer detailed floorplans and 3D renderings.
Biggest house in the world: Where are the 10 largest mansions?
The rich build luxurious and huge houses. The uber-rich build big and expensive mansions. But what exactly defines ‘the biggest house in the world’?
There are opulent royal palaces such as the 200,000sqm Istana Nurul Iman built for the Sultan of Brunei in 1984 at a cost of $1.5 billion, the Royal Palace of Madrid at 135,000sqm, or the Buckingham Palace, relatively modest at 77,000sqm. Then there are presidential palaces, the biggest of which is the Zhongnanhai complex, the official residence of the Chinese President in Beijing, spread over an area exceeding 3.43million sqm and valued at $USD38.83 billion.
Poor ventilation may be adding to nursing homes' COVID-19 risks
Over 2,000 active cases of COVID-19 and 245 resident deaths as of August 19 have been linked to aged care homes in Victoria, spread across over 120 facilities. The St Basil’s cluster alone now involves 191 cases. In New South Wales, 37 residents were infected at Newmarch House, leading to 17 deaths.
Why are so many aged care residents and staff becoming infected with COVID-19? New research suggests poor ventilation may be one of the factors. RMIT researchers are finding levels of carbon dioxide in some nursing homes that are more than three times the recommended level, which points to poor ventilation.
Shipping container home prices: Costs, regulations and planning for a container home
A container home is a type of modular or prefabricated (prefab) home that is manufactured off-site in a factory environment.
The modular unit is comprised of shipping containers that have been refitted for use as a modular property.
The unit is then transported to the property location, where it’s either assembled by tradespeople or by the property owner (for a basic DIY unit).
Shipping container homes can be customised to fit specific size and design requirements both inside and out.
Marrickville Metro's new community-focused development
The Inner West’s Marrickville Metro has announced their community-focused development is set to open mid-2021.
Though COVID-19 has led to a delay in the opening of the centre, the Marrickville Metro team have been working closely with retail partners and are pleased to confirm the revised timeframe.
This new community hub is inspired by, and created for, the incredibly vibrant Inner West customer.
Marrickville Metro aims to mirror the Inner West’s unique personality with a distinctive development that responds to the growing and ever-changing population.
The 2020 Sustainability Awards winners
Lilydale House at Marrick & Co by Mirvac Design and Tonkin Zulaikha Greer
The adaptive reuse of the heritage Nurses’ Quarters as Lilydale House makes a charismatic centrepiece in Mirvac’s urban renewal of the former Marrickville Hospital site.
The landmark mixed-use precinct integrates Marrick & Co, Mirvac’s sustainable medium-density housing development, with Council’s outstanding new library and community pavilion.
Tone on Tuesday: On being objectionable
Urban planning is complex at both the macro and micro scale. It's part social sciences like demography, part physical sciences like geography, part land use and design, all with a healthy dollop of financial and political considerations. It affects everyone's lives, which is why the public should be involved. But unfortunately, that has not turned out so well. In fact, it’s a farce.
The macro scale is strategic planning: making frameworks for the development of a particular area. The micro scale is regulatory planning, checking that proposals are consistent or compliant with the aims of the framework. Policy, then policing.
I trust that everyone will be happy with this list – I know that I found some surprises together with some quite obvious outcomes when we finshed crunching the Google numbers.
So that just leaves me one more thing to do.
On behalf of Architecture + Design magazine staff, we would like to wish each and every one of you along with your freinds, colleagues and families, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, and hopefully far less dramatic New Year.
Let’s hope that 2021 turns out to be a bit more normal than this year was!
See you all on January 11.